Hey. You kinda have a long read ahead, but this is our story! My name is Macy Cheramie Rodrigue, I am 24 years old, and I am the owner/founder of White Oak Boutique. Actually, White Oak’s beginning is quite the story. After graduating from South Lafourche High School, I began my journey at Nicholls State University to become (after changing majors three times) a secondary science teacher. During my time at Nicholls, ya girl needed to make some money. After realizing the food industry was not for me (if it is, serious props), I worked at a couple of Thibodaux-local boutiques where there was a real spark inside. I fell in love with helping women with their style and confidence! I wasn’t always (and still am not) the most fashionable, trendy person when it comes to clothes. But through my experience in helping other women with style and confidence, I found that that wasn’t even the most important thing. Helping women find confidence in their style was something that I truly loved to do.
It was the end of Summer 2020 and it was time for the “student-teaching” part of becoming a teacher. Time to move back down the bayou. It was also time to find another way to make money until I graduated! The lightbulb went off. I thought of a way to ~semi-passively~ make some pocket change while I was student teaching. I would create an online boutique! At this time, people are already used to social distance, and many of us have become accustomed to online shopping (some of us even preferred it). But really, Macy? It couldn’t be at a worse time in my life. I was in the process of buying a house with my fiance, planning my wedding for November 2020, AND student-teaching. Not to mention, the world was smack dab in the middle of the COVID pandemic. I (after some convincing and encouragement from my husband) decided that I would chase this small dream of mine despite the pile of things constantly weighing on my shoulders, and boy am I glad I did.
I’ll be honest, it took a couple months of preparation. Almost all of it was done online and most of it was a foreign language to me. I spent so many hours staring at my computer screen to get this store up and legally running. My eyes probably have permanent damage from all the screen time during this pandemic. Not to mention the hoops that needed to be jumped through to get something like this done during COVID!
Fast-forward to September 5th, 2020 launch day! After a few months of preparation, getting the word out and creating some buzz, I was feeling all of the feelings. Are people gonna shop with me? Are they excited? What if they don’t like my style? What if literally no one cares? Is this a waste of my time and money? Omg. I clicked the button and my little online store went live! It ended up being one of the best things I ever did.
Fast-forward again! I figured out that teaching wasn’t for me, and I decided to go all-in in my business and see where it took me. Some may say it’s a waste of four years and a waste of my teaching degree, but without my college experience, I never would have had the boutique experience! So on May 8th, 2021, White Oak Boutique opened its very own tiny storefront in Larose, LA. HUGE thank you to my parents and my husband (White Oak Boutique literally wouldn’t exist without them!) for helping me get my little store ready. On Grand Opening Day, it was SO amazing to finally see all of my customers in person finding styles they loved! It’s one of my favorite memories. My mom became my first employee and she still helps me out to this day (She’s the best!) Three very amazing, very short months later, Hurricane Ida ripped our community apart. Our storefront was in complete ruins. Thankfully, not all of our inventory was ruined, but almost everything in our tiny storefront was either soaked or on the ground full of debris. I will never forget walking back into the store after the hurricane and just being completely overwhelmed and so frustrated. I cried and cried as we took what was left of my store back to my house. (Thankfully, our house was okay and I could not be more grateful for that.) But needless to say, it put us back to being exclusively online.
We still did local pop-ups, and it was the only time where we could connect with our customers so we LOVED doing them.
In December of 2021, with a new location kind of "in the air," my Dad Facetimed me to show me an old house in Larose that was for sale. It was super close to the highway, right under the powerlines, blue tarp, so many broken windows. It really needed some work. But he saw the potential in it, and saw 11 foot ceilings, old wooden floors, and so much character. I mean, it was built in 1916!! That is some bayou history that needs to be preserved! I thought on it, and wondered if it was something we could really make work. I thought, "If I could make it work in my 200 square foot space, this can DEFINITELY work." I bought it!
Long story short, turning the old abandoned house into a store took an entire year of my dad and I renovating it and fixing up every square inch. We moved the entire house further away from the road, opened up the inside, made fitting rooms, and countless other tasks to make the house into my dream store. I will NEVER ever be able to thank my dad enough!
The Grand Opening of our new store was on August 5th, 2023, and to say it was a success would be an understatement. That entire year of tireless work was WORTH IT. And we cannot wait to make all the memories in this new storefront.
But what a ride this has been so far. Through all the blood, sweat, and tears, this venture has been nothing short of a dream, and I cannot wait to see where it takes us! If you’re thinking about starting something new, whether it be a business, a side hustle, a new lifestyle, ANYTHING, just know that you CAN do it. If you’re thinking of all the “what-ifs,” yes. Those “what-ifs” can and WILL happen. Trust me! But there is nothing that can stop you from pushing through. Only you!
And of course, the biggest thank you goes to my customers. You allow me to do what I love every single day and I am so so thankful!
Macy Cheramie Rodrigue